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Parnell backs gun bill, but won't say whether he would OK arrest of federal agents

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Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013 10:22 am | Updated: 11:54 am, Fri Mar 1, 2013.

Gov. Sean Parnell says he supports the bill that would allow state law enforcement officers to arrest federal law enforcement officers if they try to enforce federal gun laws.

But Parnell refused to say whether he would have state law enforcement officers arrest federal law enforcement officers if they try to enforce federal gun laws.

"How it gets implemented and enforced, there are multiple ways and multiple opportunities and so for me to comment on this point on exactly how that might take place, I'm not going to do that right now," Parnell said at  a Juneau press conference.

The state House has already approved a bill that its attorneys say is unconstitutional. The measure has been referred to only one committee in the Senate, the judiciary committee,  so it may end up as a state law.

In speaking about the bill, Parnell was giving a political analysis, not a legal one.

Asked how the bill conforms to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S.Constitution, Parnell said he assumes that the various federal laws the bill opposes are unconstitutional. 

"You're assuming that the underlying law is constitutional," he told a reporter. "I'm assuming that the underlying law is not constitutional, therefore the supremacy clause would not even kick in, it would not be an issue at that point. So there are ways that that bill (HB 69) would be constitutional."

When the reporter noted that the state doesn't have the power to make that constitutional decision, Parnell said:

"That would be our contention of anything that we thought violated the Second Amendment is that it would be unconstitutional, therefore the Supremacy Clause would not kick in to cast out this underlying piece of legislation," Parnell said.

The attorney general should produce a written opinion on this bill that should deal with the question of whether it makes any sense for our state to adopt a law based on a generalized assumption that a host of federal laws, including some that don't exist yet, are unconstitutional.

 

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